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F/A-18C Hornet

F/A-18 Photo gallery

 

DATE:

SEPTEMBER 09, 1996

SECTION:

AIRCRAFT - FIXED-WING - MILITARY

COUNTRY:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

COMPANY NAME:

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS - MCDONNELL AIRCRAFT COMPANY

TITLE:

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS F/A-18 HORNET

US Navy/Marine Corps designations: F/A-18A, B, C, D

Royal Australian Air Force designations: AF-18A and ATF-18A

Canadian Forces designations: CF-188A/B

Spanish Air Force designations: C.15 and CE.15

TYPE:

Carrierborne and land-based attack/fighter.

PROGRAMME:

US Navy study of VFAX low-cost, lightweight multimission fighter accepted Spring 1974; VFAX study terminated August 1974 and replaced by derivative of either General Dynamics YF-16 or Northrop YF-17 lightweight fighter prototypes; McDonnell Douglas proposed F-17 derivative with Northrop as associate; resultant Navy Air Combat Fighter called Hornet accepted in two versions, F-18 fighter and A-18 attack aircraft; single F/A-18 selected to fill both roles; McDonnell Douglas prime contractor and Northrop principal subcontractor for all versions agreed 1985; first Hornet flight (160775) 18 November 1978; 11 development aircraft flying by March 1980; delivery of F/A-18A/B (TF-18A designation dropped) to US Navy and Marines began May 1980 and completed 1987; millionth flying hour achieved 10 April 1990; two millionth on 17 September 1993.

Enhancements to Hughes AN/APG-65 radar funded ($65.7 million) May 1990; new signal and data processors, upgraded receiver/exciter. Resultant AN/APG-73 received $257 million funding in June 1991 for initial production of 12 in FY92; first flight in trials Hornet at St Louis on 15 April 1992; installed in production F/A-18s from 1994 (first two F/A-18Cs with this radar delivered to VFA-146 and 147 at NAS Lemoore, California, on 25 and 26 May 1994).

VARIANTS:

F/A-18A: Single-seater. Total of 370 F/A-18As and 40 two-seat F/A-18Bs (plus 11 prototypes, including two tandem-seat trainers) for USN and USMC as escort fighters to replace F-4s and as attack aircraft replacing A-7s under FY79 to FY85 contracts; first training squadron (VFA-125) formed at NAS Lemoore, California, November 1980; in service 7 January 1983 with Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron VMFA-314 at MCAS El Toro, California; first Navy squadron, VFA-113 of Pacific Fleet, October 1983; first Atlantic Fleet squadrons formed NAS Cecil Field, Florida, 1 February 1985; same month VFA-113 and VFA-25 embarked in USS Constellation.

US Navy and Marines squadrons with F/A-18A/Bs are tabulated. Electronic warfare training F/A-18A/Bs used AN/ALQ-167 jamming, AN/ALE-41 chaff and AN/AST-4/6 threat simulator pods. `Aggressor' training aircraft of VFA-127 wear desert camouflage and Cuban/Iraqi/Libyan insignia. First combat experience by VFA-131, 132, VMFA-314 and 323 from USS Coral Sea attacking Libyan targets 1986.

F/A-18B: Combat capable two-seater; originally designated TF-18A; internal fuel capacity reduced by 6 per cent; production figures and US operating squadrons, see table and F/A-18A.

F/A-18C and F/A-18D: Single- and two-seat versions respectively. Purchased from FY86 onwards; 137 F/A-18Cs and 31 F/A-18Ds bought under FY86 and FY87 procurements are baseline non-night attack models; overall total of 570 F/A-18C/Ds (including Night Attack - see below) funded between FY86 and FY94 (batches of 84, 84, 84, 84, 66, 48, 48, 36 and 36); further 24 in FY95 and six in FY96 for completion of first-generation Hornet production; first flight of production F/A-18C (163427) 3 September 1987. Main description applies to F/A-18C except where indicated.

Modifications include provision for up to six AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles (two on fuselage and two on each outboard pylon); up to four imaging IR Maverick missiles (one on each wing pylon); provision for reconnaissance equipment; upgraded stores management set with 128 kbits memory, Intel 8086 processor, MIL-STD-1553B armament multiplex bus with MIL-STD-1760 weapons interface capability; flight incident recorder and monitoring set (FIRAMS) with integrated fuel/engine indicator, data storage set for recording maintenance and flight incidents data, signal data processor interfacing with fuel system to provide overall system control, enhanced built-in test capability and automatic CG adjustment as fuel is consumed; maintenance status panel isolating faults to card level; and new faster XN-6 mission computer with twice memory of previous XN-5; upgraded to XN-8 from FY91. Small rectangular fence retrofitted to US Navy aircraft above LEX strake just ahead of wing leading-edge broadens LEX vortexes, reduces fatigue and improves directional control at angles of attack higher than 45. AIM-120A AMRAAM cleared for use by Hornet from September 1993, initially on aircraft of VFA-22, VFA-94 and VMFA-314 in Arabian Gulf.

F/A-18C/D Night Attack: First flight of prototype 6 May 1988; one Night Attack F/A-18C (163985) and one D (163986) delivered to Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, on 1 and 14 November 1989 respectively; all F/A-18Cs and Ds delivered subsequently (FY88 procurement) have all-weather night attack avionics. Hughes AN/APG-73 radar (first F/A-18 flight test 15 April 1992) standard from May 1994; initially on aircraft of VFA-146 and VFA-147. US Navy squadrons equipped with F/A-18C Night Attack; US Marine Corps `VMFA-' squadrons also F/A-18C Night Attack; Marines `VMFA(AW)-' squadrons with F/A-18D Night Attack; deliveries of night-capable C versions to VMFA-312 began 5 August 1991; night-capable Ds to VMFA(AW)-121 from April 1990; third Night D squadron, VMFA(AW)-225, equipped from 1 July 1991, but later to adopt reconnaissance role. Marine Corps has replaced six squadrons of Grumman A-6Es, McDonnell Douglas OA-4s and RF-4Bs in attack, reconnaissance and forward air controller roles, with 96 Hornets, of which first 48 authorised in 1990; remainder in F/A-18D(RC) configuration (see below). Navy squadrons unchanged, with two-seaters used as trainers only. 1,000th Hornet was F/A-18D 164237, delivered to VMFA(AW)-242 on 22 April 1991. USN/USMC operating squadron status in table.

HORNET PRODUCTION

FY Block US Navy/Marines Canada Australia

F/A-18A/C F/A-18B/D CF-18A CF-18B AF-18A AF-18B

76 1 3

2 3 1

3 3 1

79 4 7 2

80 5 3 4

6 7 2

7 9

81 8 11 4 4

9 17 4 1 5

10 22 3 5 3

82 11 17 3 7

12 23 1 8 2

13 19 6 1

83 14 18 3 7 1 3 7

15 29 2 6 2 Jan-00

16 32 7 1 Jan-00

84 17 24 3 7 2 7

18 25 4 7 1 5

19 27 1 7 1 3 2

85 20 24 3 6 2 6

21 26 1 8 5

22 30 8 4 2

86 23 23(1) 8(2) 8 4 2

24 21 8 9 4

25 17 7 6 5

87 26 25 3 4

27 26 2 3

28 25 3 1

88 29 20(3) 10(4)

30 16 10

31 18 10

89 32 17 7

33 23 7

34 24 6

90 35 22

36 11 10

37 13 10

91 38 12 4

39 12 4

40 12 4

92 41-43 35 13

93 24 12

94 36

95 24

96 6

Subtotals 1,021 138 75 72

Finland (64)

Switzerland (34)

Malaysia (8)

Thailand (8)

 

FY Block Spain Kuwait Cum

EF-18A EF-18B KAF-18C KAF-18D Total

76 1 3

2 7

3 11

79 4 Jan-00

80 5 Jan-00

6 Feb-00

7 Feb-00

81 8 Mar-00

9 Mar-00

10 124

82 11 May-00

12 Jul-00

13 Jul-00

83 14 Sep-00

15 Oct-00

16 337

84 17 2 382

18 1 2 427

19 4 472

85 20 3 1 517

21 5 3 565

22 9 618

86 23 9 672

24 6 720

25 2 757

87 26 5 794

27 5 830

28 7 866

88 29 2 898

30 4 928

31 2 958

89 32 982

33 1,012

34 1,042

90 35 5 3 1,072

36 3 3 1,099

37 2 2 1,126

91 38 8 1,150

39 8 1,174

40 6 1,196

92 41-43 1,244

93 1,280

Subtotals 60 12 32 8

94 1,316

95 1,340

96 1,346

Subtotals

Finland (64) 1,410

Switzerland (34) 1,444

Malaysia (8) 1,452

Thailand (8) 1,460

Totals 1,460

Notes:

(1)Begins F/A-18C production

(2)Begins F/A-18D production

(3)Begins F/A-18C Night Attack production

(4)Begins F/A-18D Night Attack production

(5)Nine prototypes, 370 As, 137 Cs and 259 C Nights

(6)Two prototypes, 40 Bs, 31 Ds and 107 D Nights

Night Attack system includes GEC Cat's Eyes pilot's night vision goggles, Hughes AN/AAR-50 thermal imaging navigation set (TINS) presenting forward view in Kaiser AN/AVQ-28 raster HUD, colour multifunction displays and Smiths colour digital moving map; external sensor pods comprise Loral AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting FLIR and TINS; NITE Hawk added laser target designator/ranger subsystem from January 1993, initially for squadrons VFA-146 and -147, operating in Arabian Gulf; USMC version of F/A-18D has mission-capable rear cockpit with no control column, but two sidestick weapons controllers and two Kaiser 12.7 cm (5 in) colour MFDs in addition to Smiths Srs 2100 colour map display; may be converted to dual control, with stick and throttles, for pilot training.

F/A-18D(RC): Simple reconnaissance version, launched 1982 and first flown 1984, included a twin-sensor package replacing gun in nose; was to be fitted with Martin Marietta Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System (ATARS) centreline pod; first sensor-capable aircraft delivered to El Toro, February 1992; ATARS programme suspended June 1993. As replacement, 31 F/A-18Ds of Marine Corps to receive partial ATARS fit, comprising Loral Fairchild pod with electro-optical overflight sensors, long-range optical sensor and modified version of Hughes AN/APG-73 radar capable of producing high-resolution strip-maps. IOC of this system is currently scheduled for 1998.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: Described separately.

AF-18A and ATF-18A: Royal Australian Air Force versions; decision to purchase 75 announced 20 October 1981; deliveries started 17 May 1985; first flight of ATF-18A assembled by AeroSpace Technologies of Australia (ASTA), 26 February 1985; first flight of Australian manufactured aircraft (ATF-18A, A21-104) 3 June 1985; last of 57 single-seat and 18 two-seat Hornets delivered 16 May 1990; Hornet replaced Dassault Mirage IIIO; units are No. 2 OCU, Williamtown, No. 3 Squadron (formed August 1986) and No. 77 Squadron at same base, and No. 75 Squadron, Tindal. Weapons include AIM-7M, AIM-9M, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-84 Harpoon, GBU-10/GBU-12/Paveway II LGBs, Mk 82 bombs and 70 mm rockets. From 1990, remaining 74 aircraft being fitted with F/A-18C/D type avionics and (from 1991) provision for Loral AN/AAS-38 NITE Hawk IR tracking and laser designating pod.

CF-18A and B: Canada's purchase of 138 Hornets (finalised as 98 CF-18As and 40 two-seat CF-18Bs, known respectively as CF-188A and CF-188B) announced 10 April 1980; first flight of CF-18 29 July 1982; deliveries between 25 October 1982 and September 1988; CF units were No. 410 OCU and Nos. 416 and 441 Squadrons at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, 425 and 433 at Bagotville, Quebec, and 439 and 421 Squadrons of No. 4 Fighter Wing/No. 1 Air Division at Baden Sollingen, Germany; last aircraft left Europe 26 January 1993. Currently active with Nos. 425 and 433 Squadrons at Bagotville and Nos. 411 (OCU), 416 and 441 at Cold Lake; defence reductions expected to reduce this to four, with up to a quarter of CF-18 fleet being placed in store. Differences from US Navy F/A-18A/B include ILS, in-flight identification spotlight in port side of fuselage, and provision for LAU-5003 19-tube pods for CRV-7 70 mm (2.75 in) high-velocity submunition rockets; other weapons are AIM-7M and AIM-9L air-to-air missiles, 500 lb Mk 82 bombs and Hunting BL755 CBUs. Pilot has comprehensive cold weather land survival kit. Upgrade planned for late 1990s.

EF-18A and B: Spanish versions; purchase of 60 single-seat Hornets and 12 two-seaters, known respectively as C.15 and CE.15, under Futuro Avion de Combate y Ataque programme announced 30 May 1983; financial restrictions reduced number from 84 and deliveries then stretched from 36, 24 and 12 during 1986 to 1988 to 11, 26, 15, 12 and eight during 1986 to 1990; maintenance performed in Spain by CASA, which also works on USN Hornets with 6th Fleet in Mediterranean; first flight Spanish Hornet 4 December 1985; deliveries began 10 July 1986; all 12 trainers delivered by early 1987; armament includes GBU-10/16 LGBs, AGM-65G Maverick ASM, AIM-7F/M and AIM-9L/M air-to-air missiles, AGM-84C/D Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM and free-fall bombs; AIM-120 AMRAAM ordered 1990 and delivered late 1995. First 36 aircraft have Sanders AN/ALQ-126B deception jammers ordered in 1987; final 36 received Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-162(V) systems. All have AN/ALR-67 RWR.

Units equipped are Ala de Caza 15 (15th Fighter Wing) formed at Zaragoza December 1985 and operational December 1987, with 30 A and six B shared between Escuadrones 151 and 152; Ala de Caza 12 at Torrejon (Escuadrones 121 and 122) completed re-equipping in July 1990. Agreement in 1992 to upgrade Spanish aircraft to F-18A+/B+ standard, close to F/A-18C/D; of 71 available, 46 were to be converted by McDonnell Douglas between September 1992 and March 1994; final 25 by CASA by 1995. Engineering Change Proposal 287 includes later mission and armament computers, databuses, data-storage set, new wiring, pylon modifications and software. New capabilities include AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting FLIR pods.

Spain decided in January 1995 to obtain 24 former USN F/A-18A Hornets, with six more on option. First six were handed over in December 1995, following update before delivery and have late standard F404 engines plus other Spanish-specified modifications.

Hornet upgrades: In addition to F-18+ (see Spanish version) McDonnell Douglas proposed a series of optional upgrades in early 1996. These include upgrading to 9 g from current 7.5 g manoeuvre limit; 2,271 litre (600 US gallon; 500 Imp gallon) external tanks (land-based operations only); F/A-18E fuel tanks of polyurethane, offering up to 160 kg (353 lb) additional internal capacity; six additional chaff/flare dispensers; and cockpit upgrades using some F/A-18E technology, such as LCD upfront display and colour tactical situation display.

CUSTOMERS:

See table of production. Total of 1,313 Hornets delivered by 1 May 1996, of which 980 to US forces; USN proposed procurement of 1,156 production Hornets: first-generation models total 1,021 including prototypes, with follow-on F/A-18E/F versions set to raise procurement to more than 2,000 for USN/MC by year 2015.

US HORNET OPERATING SQUADRONS

Unit Base Version Remarks

Regular Navy

VFA-15 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-22 Lemoore C Night

VFA-25 Lemoore C Night

VFA-27 Atsugi, Japan C Night

VFA-37 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-81 Cecil Field C

VFA-82 Cecil Field C

VFA-83 Cecil Field C

VFA-86 Cecil Field C

VFA-87 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-94 Lemoore C Night

VFA-97 Lemoore C

VFA-105 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-106 Cecil Field A, B, C, Training

C Night, D, D Night

VFA-113 Lemoore C Night

VFA-125 Lemoore A, B, C, C Night, Training

D, D Night

VFA-131 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-136 Cecil Field C Night

VFA-137 Lemoore C Night

VFA-146 Lemoore C Night

VFA-147 Lemoore C Night

VFA-151 Lemoore C Night

VFA-192 Atsugi, Japan C

VFA-195 Atsugi, Japan C

VX-9 Point Mugu/China Lake

A, C, C Night, D, D Night

Blue Angels Pensacola A, B

NAWC (AD) Patuxent River A, B, C, D Flight test

NAWC (WD) Point Mugu A, B, C Flight test

NAWC (WD) China Lake A, C, D Flight test

NFWS Miramar A, B Aggressor

NSWC Fallon A, B

 

Marine Corps

VMFAT-101 El Toro A, B, C, C Night, D, D Training

Night

VMFA-115 Beaufort A

VMFA(AW)-121 Miramar D Night

VMFA-122 Beaufort A

VMFA-212 Miramar C

VMFA(AW)-224 Beaufort D Night

VMFA(AW)-225 Miramar D Night

VMFA-232 Miramar C

VMFA-235 Miramar C

VMFA(AW)-242 Miramar D Night

VMFA-251 Beaufort C Night

VMFA-312 Beaufort C Night

VMFA-314 Miramar C Night

VMFA-323 Miramar C Night

VMFA(AW)-332 Beaufort D Night

VMFA-451 Beaufort A

VMFA(AW)-533 Beaufort D Night

 

Naval Reserve

VFC-12 Oceana A, B Aggressor

VFC-13 Miramar A, B Aggressor

VFA-203 Cecil Field A

VFA-204 New Orleans A

 

Marine Corps Reserve

VMFA-112 Dallas A, B

VMFA-134 Miramar A

VMFA-142 Cecil Field A

VMFA-321 Washington A, B

Disbanded units are VFA-132 on 1 June 1992; VFA-303 and VFA-305 both October 1994; VMFA-333 and VMFA-531 both 31 March 1992; VAQ-34 on 1 October 1993; VX-4 and VX-5 both September 1994 (replaced by VX-9); VF-45 in April 1996; VF-127 in March 1996. All F/A-18A operators, except VX-4 and VX-5 which used several versions. VMFAT-101 at El Toro to relocate to Miramar.

In addition to US Navy/Marine Corps, Australia, Canada and Spain (see Current Versions), Switzerland selected 26 F/A-18Cs and eight F/A-18Ds powered by GE F404-GE-402 engines and with AN/APG-73 radar, AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting FLIR, AIM-20 AMRAAMs and night vision systems in October 1988, as its Neue Jagdflugzeug to replace front line F-5Es; purchase ratified by parliament 12 June 1992; confirmed by referendum 6 June 1993; maiden flight of first aircraft (F/A-18D J-5231) on 20 January 1996, followed by formal roll-out ceremony on 25 January 1996. First F/A-18C (J-5001) was to fly in February 1996, with both aircraft being retained in USA for weapons system verification. Remaining 32 are to be assembled at Emmen by SASC (which see), with the first flight expected in late 1996; deliveries to Swiss Air Force will begin in early 1997 and run until November 1999. Swiss Hornets may be first of the type rated for 9 g.

Kuwaiti contract signed September 1988 for 32 F/A-18Cs and eight F/A-18Ds together with AGM-65G Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon, AIM-7F Sparrow and AIM-9L Sidewinder; first flight 19 September 1991; first three delivered to No. 25 Squadron 25 January 1992; 20 more before year end; final delivery to No. 9 Squadron 23 August 1993, but additional small purchases planned; F404-GE-402 power plants.

Finland selected seven F-18Ds (built by McAir) and 57 F-18Cs (for assembly from kits by Valmet); announcement 6 May 1992; letter of offer signed 5 June 1992; -402 engines and AN/APG-73 radar; initial procurement of four aircraft in 1993; first US-built aircraft (F-18D HN-461) flown 21 April 1995, prior to formal roll-out on 7 June 1995; initial four F-18Ds delivered to Tampere-Pirkkala on 7 November 1995. Valmet began assembly of first F-18C in September 1995 for first delivery 12 months later; initial flight made from Halli, Finland on 14 May 1996.

Malaysia confirmed order for eight USMC-standard F/A-18Ds (AN/APG-73 radar and -402 engines) 29 June 1993; FMS contract placed with manufacturer 7 April 1994; four to be delivered in January 1997; remainder four months later. Malaysia later requested price/availability data for additional 10 or 16 F/A-18Ds for delivery in 1997-98; decision expected by Summer 1995 but still awaited at beginning of July 1996. Singapore also showed interest; began Hornet evaluation at NWC China Lake, 7 February 1994; eventually purchased more F-16s.

Thailand is most recent customer, issuing a formal letter of request for an initial batch of eight aircraft in Autumn 1995, with follow-on batch of eight to 10 at later date. Purchase includes AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; separate contract covers 50 AIM-120 AMRAAMs. Order confirmed in February 1996; contract for four F-18Cs and four F-18Ds signed 30 May 1996, with deliveries to be completed between February and October 1999.

COSTS:

$25 million, flyaway unit cost, 1991. $55,632 million (1991) US programme, 1,167 aircraft. Swiss purchase valued at approximately $2.3 billion, including aircraft, spares, AIM-120 missiles, technical support, training and a weapons tactics trainer. Thailand: $578 million for eight aircraft, four spare engines and five Harpoon missiles.

DESIGN FEATURES:

Sharp-edged, cambered leading-edge extensions (LEX), slots at fuselage junction and outward-canted twin fins are designed to produce high agility and docile performance at angles of attack over 50; wings have 20 sweepback at quarter-chord and fold up 90 at inboard end of ailerons, even on land-based F/A-18s; landing gear designed for unflared landings on runways as well as on carriers.

FLYING CONTROLS:

Full digital fly-by-wire controls using ailerons and tailerons for lateral control, plus flaps in flaperon form at low airspeeds; leading- and trailing-edge flaps scheduled automatically for high manoeuvrability, fast cruise and slow approach speed; both rudders turned in at take-off and landing to provide extra nose-up trim effort; fly-by-wire returns towards 1 g flight if pilot releases controls; lateral and then directional control progressively washed out as angle of attack reaches extreme values; height, heading and airspeed holds provided in fly-by-wire system; US Navy aircraft can land automatically using carrier-based guidance system; airbrake panel located on top of fuselage, between fins. Bertea hydraulic actuators for trailing-edge flaps; Hydraulic Research actuators for ailerons; National Water Lift actuators for tailerons.

STRUCTURE:

Multispar wing mainly of light alloy, with graphite/epoxy inter-spar skin panels and trailing-edge flaps; tail surfaces mainly graphite/epoxy skins over aluminium honeycomb core; graphite/epoxy fuselage panels and doors; titanium engine firewall. Northrop Grumman produces rear and centre fuselages; assembly and test at McDonnell Douglas St Louis factory; CASA produces horizontal tail surfaces, flaps, leading-edge extensions, speedbrakes, rudders and rear side panels for all F/A-18s.

LANDING GEAR:

Dowty retractable tricycle type, with twin-wheel nose and single-wheel main units. Nose unit retracts forward, mainwheels rearward, turning 90 to stow horizontally inside the lower surface of the engine air ducts. Bendix wheels and brakes. Nosewheel tyres size 22 x 6.6-10, 20 ply, pressure 24.13 bars (350 lb/sq in) for carrier operations, 10.34 bars (150 lb/sq in) for land operations. Mainwheel tyres size 30 x 11.5-14.5, 24 ply, pressure 24.13 bars (350 lb/sq in) for carrier operations, 13.79 bars (200 lb/sq in) for land operations. Ozone nosewheel steering unit. Nose unit towbar for catapult launch. Arrester hook, for carrier landings, under rear fuselage.

POWER PLANT:

Two General Electric F404-GE-400 low bypass turbofans initially, each producing approximately 71.2 kN (16,000 lb st) with afterburning. F404-GE-402 EPE (Enhanced Performance Engine) standard from early 1992; rated at approximately 78.3 kN (17,600 lb st). Self-sealing fuel tanks and fuel lines; foam in wing tanks and fuselage voids. Internal fuel capacity (JP5) approximately 6,061 litres (1,600 US gallons; 1,333 Imp gallons). Provision for up to three 1,250 litre (330 US gallon; 275 Imp gallon) external tanks. Canadian Hornets carry three 1,818 litre (480 US gallon; 400 Imp gallon) tanks. Flight refuelling probe retracts into upper starboard side of nose. Simmonds fuel gauging system. Fixed ramp air intakes.

ACCOMMODATION:

Pilot only, on Martin-Baker SJU-5/6 zero/zero ejection seat, in pressurised, heated and air conditioned cockpit. Upward-opening canopy, with separate windscreen, on all versions. Two pilots in F/A-18B and USN F/A-18D; pilot and Naval Flight Officer in USMC F/A-18D.

SYSTEMS:

Two completely separate hydraulic systems, each at 207 bars (3,000 lb/sq in). Maximum flow rate 212 litres (56 US gallons; 46.6 Imp gallons)/min. Bootstrap type reservoir, pressure 5.86 bars (85 lb/sq in). AiResearch air conditioning system. General Electric electrical power system. AlliedSignal GTC36-200 APU for engine starting and ground pneumatic, electric and hydraulic power. Oxygen system. Fire detection and extinguishing systems.

AVIONICS:

Comms: AN/ARC-182 UHF/VHF, Conrac communications system control; AN/APX-100 IFF; Hazeltine AN/APX-111 Combined Interrogator Transponder (CIT) for Kuwait; AN/APX-111 evaluated on F/A-18D by Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake commencing Summer 1995 and is expected to be incorporated into production aircraft from Summer 1997, with up to 500 existing Hornets to be retrofitted for Navy and Marine Corps.

Radar: Hughes Aircraft AN/APG-65 multimode digital air-to-air and air-to-ground tracking radar, with air-to-air modes which include velocity search (VS), range while search (RWS), track while scan (TWS - track 10 targets and display eight to pilot) and raid assessment mode (RAM). Improved Hughes Aircraft AN/APG-73 replaced AN/APG-65 in F/A-18C/D for USN, USMC, Finland, Malaysia and Switzerland from May 1994.

Flight: Automatic carrier landing system (ACLS) for all-weather carrier operations; Collins AN/ARN-118 Tacan, DF-301E UHF/DF, Eaton AN/ARA-63 receiver/decoder, JET ID-1791/A flight director indicator, AlliedSignal HSI; General Electric quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control system, with direct electrical back-up to all surfaces and direct mechanical back-up to tailerons; Litton AN/ASN-130A inertial navigation system (plus GPS from FY93), being replaced by Litton AN/ASN-139 ring laser system (including retrofits); Normalair-Garrett digital data recorder for AlliedSignal maintenance recording system; flight incident recording and monitoring system (FIRAMS), Smiths standby altimeter, Kearflex standby airspeed indicator, standby vertical speed indicator, cockpit pressure altimeter. Night Attack F/A-18 has Hughes AN/AAR-50 thermal imaging navigation set (TINS). Litton Embedded GPS/Inertial (EGI) system to be installed in all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as retrofit.

Instrumentation: Smiths Industries multipurpose colour map display, two Kaiser monochrome MFDs (colour on Night Attack Hornets), central GEC-Marconi-AlliedSignal CRT, Kaiser AN/AVQ-28 HUD, GEC-Marconi FID 2035 horizontal situation display, plus provision for GEC-Marconi Cat's Eyes NVGs.

Mission: Two Control Data Corporation AN/AYK-14 digital computers, GEC-Marconi Type 117 laser designator, Harris AN/ASW-25 radio datalink and Loral AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk targeting FLIR. Hughes currently developing improved targeting and navigation pod system for F/A-18 to incorporate third-generation FLIR sensor which evolved as private venture project and which is scheduled to enter production in 1998.

Self-defence: Magnavox AN/ALR-50 RWR, Litton AN/ALR-67 RWR, Goodyear AN/ALE-39 chaff dispenser (AN/ALE-47 from FY93 including exports to Finland, Malaysia and Switzerland), Sanders AN/ALQ-126B deception jammers (additionally, Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-162(V) CW jammers in Canadian and later Spanish aircraft). ITT/Westinghouse AN/ALQ-165 ASPJ jammer selected by Finland and Switzerland. AN/ALQ-165 also installed as temporary measure on 12 US Marine Corps F/A-18Ds for operations over Bosnia in 1995, utilising systems placed in storage when US Navy cancelled ASPJ programme in 1992. AN/ALQ-126B for Malaysia.

 

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